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Education Department Approves Teacher-Equity Plans for Eight States, Puerto Rico

The U.S. Department of Education announced Dec. 22 that it had approved the last remaining state plans to ensure that all students, and students from low-income backgrounds in particular, have access to high-quality teachers.

The eight states to get their plans approved are: Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Texas, along with Puerto Rico. 

Among the highlights of the plans, according to the Education Department:

  • Aside from Iowa, all of the states and Puerto Rico have specified their plans to improve teacher preparation and support. One example is Louisiana's "Believe and Prepare" program, in which districts in the state have partnered with teacher-preparation programs. Another is Oregon's work to ensure that teacher and school leaders get experience in high-needs schools during their preparation programs.
  • All eight states have pledged to use data heavily in their decisionmaking process. Hawaii, for instance, has added additional measures of educator quality.
  • All of the states and Puerto Rico have said they will publicly report their progress on these plans.

The Education Department approved teacher-equity plans for 16 states in September, 17 in October, and nine in November. The plans are in response to the department's Excellent Educators for All initiative announced in 2014. 

As we've written about previously, some of the ideas states have put forward in their plans aren't particularly groundbreaking. And at least one state chief, Montana's Denise Juneau, told the department that while she supports her plan, she lacks the teeth to ensure that a lot of it is put into action. 

Click here to see all states' approved teacher-equity plans. 

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